NTLK OFF TOPIC Why did I buy a Visor?

From: James L. Johnson Jr. (jimjohnson@mac.com)
Date: Thu Jun 01 2000 - 19:24:15 CDT

Dear Friends:

Thank you all for your support and help these last several years. I
recently became 'ungrafted' from my succession of Newton devices,
switching to a Handspring Visor Deluxe (graphite).

WHY?! you ask?

Well, after a couple of years owning a UMP2K, I discovered that I really
wasn't using the extra horsepower. I suppose I could have switched back
to a MP130, but I really wanted something portable, something
*wearable*. Sure, I'd checked email, and sent faxes, and played Cinema
movies of the dancing baby, etc. etc. But what I really needed a PDA for
was to keep track of my calendar and my contacts.

My handwriting isn't too great, so an electronic PDA beats a paper
planner. My printed handwriting got excellent recognition on the Newton,
and the default recognizer corrections available on the caret beat
*everything* else on the market. I thought I would HATE graffiti. I
don't. It works. It is difficult to adjust to a device whose entire
dimensions are smaller than the *screen* on a MP2000...

You've never synched until you've synched a Palm OS device. It's so
foolproof and seamless it's scary. The only real wierdness is that not
all the fields in Palm Desktop are supported on the handheld, so you
have to get used to what syncs and what doesn't.

Palm OS devices are 'connected organizers', intended to be a device for
carrying a subset of the information on your desktop (or laptop)
computer. The Newton is more of a stand alone device. Difficulty
entering lots of detailed schedule information is what drove me to try
Palm Desktop, originally for importing schedules into the Newton, and
then on to buy a Palm device. The Newton keyboard solution didn't work
that well for me -- if there was better navigation from the keyboard
without having to stop and tap with a stylus, it would be more satisfactory.

Palm software is very inexpensive. Most shareware is less than $20. I've
been collecting several programs (trying unsuccessfully to duplicate
most of the functionality of the Newton OS) but have been unable to
replace the most excellent Alarm Clock by Adam Tow at Foundation
Systems. It's the BEST alarm clock for a PDA out there. I miss it
terribly, and may write my own Alarm Clock software just to be able to
use it again...

The biggest reason why I bought a Visor? One word: Springboards. The
Visor has a very nifty expansion slot, much like the game slot on a Game
Boy. There is a multitude of devices planned to ship for this slot,
everything from e-books to GPS devices, wireless connectivity to MP3
players. Because of the dearth of flash RAM available (because of the
greatly increased demand for second and third generation
digital/cellular phones worldwide) the Springboard modules are trickling
out slowly. This is the biggest reason why I switched to a currently
developed platform; new and emerging technology support. Go to Staples
or Comp USA or whatever and play with a Palm VII (wireless) sometime.
The ability to request and receive info from nearly anywhere on demand
is *magical*.

I waited as long as I felt I could for Apple to ship their rumored
handheld device. If they announce something that is clearly better, I
may switch to it. But for now (with a few regrets) I'm happy with my
Visor. It's good enough for me, with the promise of newer technology developments.

Best wishes to the Newton faithful!


P.S.: Please, all flames off list.


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